Right-wing premier Berlusconi has announced his plans to modify article 18 of the workers' statute (law protecting workers' rights) so that it does not cover workplaces with less than 15 workers. CGIL leader Sergio Cofferati declared that his union would reject all modifications and would do all in its power to stop such changes being implemented. Strikes have already taken place, and it is clear that the Italian working class will be in an even more combative mood by the autumn. Berlusconi's anti-working class measures combined with the effects of the current economic downturn are an explosive mixture.

Towards the end of July the Greek media launched a campaign of slander about the ideology of the terrorist organisation 17N (November 17), claiming that it was a Trotskyist organisation. The Greek Marxists sent a letter of protest to all the newspapers and channels, which was published in two major newspapers. We are publishing this short article on the subject.

After the government had reached an agreement with the other two trade union federations (CISL and UIL), the main federation, the CGIL, under the pressure of millions of workers, is preparing to organise another general strike for October 18. This time Cofferati is forced to go it alone. This will be the first time since 1968 that Italy will experience a "non-unitary" strike.